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No Surprise Here: Vast Majority of Experts with High Opinion of Avandia Have Ties to Drug Companies

, March 19, 2010

A new study by the Mayo Clinic shows how since 2007, when concerns were first raised about the safety of the diabetes drug Avandia, 94 percent of experts who provided favorable opinions about the drug have ties to drug companies. Nearly half of the experts had financial ties to drug companies that presented a conflict of interest. From Reuters:

"It was almost three to four times more likely that somebody who had a relationship with a pharmaceutical company had a favorable opinion about the medication," Dr Victor Montori of the Mayo Clinic, whose study appears in the British Medical Journal, said in a telephone interview.

In addition, a quarter of authors did not report their relationship with drugmakers in articles about Avandia.

Last month, Senator Max Baucus and Senator Charles Grassley released a report and internal FDA documents about Avandia. One author of an internal FDA report has a tremendous amount of respect throughout the industry as a drug safety advocate and expert – GAP client Dr. David Graham, who had previously blown the whistle on Vioxx.